10th annual CHEER Car Show shifts to lower gear amid virus

Gino Jamison of Millsboro lifts the hood on the engine of his 1929 Model A Huckster. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

GEORGETOWN — Under COVID-19 pandemic modifications, CHEER Inc’s milestone 10th annual Car, Truck & Bike Show played out Saturday on the grounds of the CHEER’s Warren and Charles Allen Community Center.

It featured approximately 80 show entries, including Jeeps, an old fire engine, motorcycles and numerous classic and vintage cars.

There also was an apology from organizers.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some same-day car show hopefuls had to be turned away.

“And that was so unfortunate because we certainly appreciate everybody’s support for CHEER,” said CHEER CEO Ken Bock. “But we’re trying to maintain social distancing here and keeping a healthy environment for everybody. We did have to tell some people that weren’t pre-registered that we were filled up.”

Walter Koopman, a CHEER board member and car show facilitator, echoed that.

“There was a limit due to the number of vehicles on the property,” said Mr. Koopman. “We feel very bad about that, and we apologize, and we hope that you will work us, and we’ll all see you in good health next year.”

Next year’s 11th car show edition will coincide with CHEER Inc.’s 50th anniversary celebration.

And, if all goes well, the event’s signature feast staple — the champagne brunch — will be back inside the center and prepared at the new commercial kitchen in the works at the CHEER Community Center.

Tom Bradshaw of Wilmington points to the engine compartment of his eye-catching 1941 Willys Coupe Overland.

“If everything goes as planned, next year’s champagne brunch will be prepared in this new kitchen,” said Mr. Bock.

Proceeds from the car, truck and bike show support that capital fundraising effort for the kitchen. The price tag has increased a bit to $1.9 million, unfortunately attributed due to the COVID situation, Mr. Bock said.

“This is part of capital campaign to raise the money for this new kitchen. We are getting close to our goal, but not there yet,” said Mr. Bock.

In lieu of the signature champagne brunch, this year patrons were treated to a picnic-style feast: barbecue ribs and chicken, with side fixings prepared by CHEER chef Harry Cannon and kitchen staff.

To keep things moving, disc jockey/entertainer Sky Brady provided music and special announcements.

One of the eye-grabbing show entries was a purple 1941 Willys Coupe, owned by Tom Bradshaw of Wilmington. He purchased it in 2006 and did all the upgrade work except the interior design, which was done by Kevin Stayton of Harrington.

“I had just been wanting one for years, and I finally got a hold of it and built it. It’s been on the road for six years now,” said Mr. Bradshaw.

Due to the pandemic, Saturday’s CHEER show marked his Willys Coupe’s 2020 show debut.

“I try to make a dozen of them a year,” said Mr. Bradshaw. “This (1941 Coupe) got Best in Show down here last year. Yes, it has collected a few awards.”

Zoe Small, who several years ago migrated from the south coast of England to Berlin, Maryland, was there with her 2012 JKU Jeep. It was part of a contingent of five entries from the Ocean City Jeep Club.

“We just did this like last minute,” said Ms. Small.

Her Jeep features a pop-up tent on the roof. “We stayed in it, last weekend,” Ms. Small said. “We went camping at Tall Pines in Virginia.”

The equivalence to Jeeps in England is a land rover. “Jeeps are becoming popular, but super expensive,” said Ms. Small.

Mr. Koopman, who brought his 550 Spyder Porsche for display, noted the quality of vehicles that the CHEER show typically attracts.

“And we had more beautiful vehicles than we expected,” said Mr. Koopman. “I appreciate everybody working with us, and I wish them well and good health.”

“There are some very rare and unusual cars that come to this show,” Mr. Bock added. “A lot of these are people that come in here year in and year out, and we are so grateful for their support.”